Tonight at the Matador on Burnside, bartender Laura Caroll will be working her last shift. She’s been behind the bar at the storied Portland watering hole since 1970, pouring drinks for the thirsty dive bar denizens of Portland’s Westside. She’s worked through three changes of ownership, and has probably seen more hip young people try to hook-up than any other bartender in town. She’s probably watched a few barflys bite the dust too.
Earlier today I spoke with Matador owner Casey Maxwell about Caroll’s retirement. “She’s a hard worker,” he said. “She can still outwork most of us.”
He’d love to see her stay, but her family has built a home in North Carolina for her and she’s ready to move on.
“She’s part of the Matador,” Maxwell said. “This place has its own soul and she’s a part of that. It’s not going to be the same without her.”
Stop in to the Matador tonight, have a shot, and say goodbye. Oh, and you better make up for all the times you’ve stiffed her on the tip, too.
God bless you, Laura, from the bottom of the Mercury’s boozy heart!
So anyway, I'm thinking about hiring Masked Chong to defend our blog. He apparently has a cadre of Korean "Nat-si's" on his payroll, and does a pretty good job of freaking me out—even though his sweater mask makes him look like one of those CG "Alvin and the Chipmunks." However, if they're looking for a new Bond villain, I think I've found their guy. CHING-CHONG-OUT!
So what exactly are these "hackers" doing to make Masked Chong so angry? Oh, just this…
Well, the numbers below are what I have to show at the end of my Oregon craft beer month. Impressive? Nah. Fun? Hell yes!
Number of beers consumed: 47
Number of Breweries: 21
Gain Loss: 5 pounds
Blog Posts: 31
Lessons learned: Too many to count
My last beer of the month will be Black Butte XXI from Deschutes, bringing my beer total to 48 and the brewery number to 22. I’d like to thank everyone who followed the endeavor. To those who are relived that they’ll never have to see the beer month headline on the blog again: thanks for putting up with it, your scroll bar deserves a rest. Try not to celebrate to loudly.
You will find my all time Oregon Craft Beer Month favorites, a few kind words, a few reflections on the last month, and a full list of what I tasted... After the jump!
Dear Guy in the Ice Cream Truck that Stops at Our Office Every Day:
As you may have noticed I did not come crashing out of our office door today to buy an Orange Dream ice cream bar, or Choco Taco. That is because I was upstairs in our production department trying to work our BLEEPING STUPID EPSILON SCANNER WHICH IS A BLEEPING PIECE OF BLEEPING BLEEP. Our production department is in the rear of the building which means I couldn't hear the harmonious tones of "Turkey in the Straw" coming up the street, and therefore I guess I apparently missed my chance.
NOW I'M NOT MAD AT YOU. But here's something you need to understand: I have kind of a PRESSURE FILLED JOB, mmm-kay? And it's kind of best for EVERYBODY if I receive, on a daily basis, the ice cream treat that keeps me from picking up that BLEEPING PIECE OF BLEEP EPSILON SCANNER AND STICKING MY FOOT UP ITS BLEEP!
So in the interest of our employees' morale and preservation of office equipment, I would really, really, really, REALLY appreciate it if, in the future, you take a moment to ask someone why I'm not there. I could be dead for all you know, and unfortunately, you would probably be the only person around here who would care enough to ask.
So to reiterate, if I'm not waiting for you on the curb with money in hand when you drive up, please ask someone where I am. If they don't know, dial 9-1-1 immediately.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation in this matter,
Wm. Steven Humphrey
p.s. Bring me a Choco Taco now.
p.p.s. Here is a video of a shark eating an ice cream.
p.p.p.s I had a video of a cat eating an ice cream, but this one is better.
UPDATE!!! p.p.p.p.s Wanna do something funny? Grab your laptop, run outside and play the following mp3 right next to your co-workers window. They'll come busting out the door, and then be horribly disappointed when there's no ice cream!! Ha! Ha! Ha! (Sniff. I hate everyone.)
We can debate health care reform and the brutality of the current economic situation on rural America all we want. But for many of us those issues will largely be abstract. For others, those issues are a terrible reality that can bring everything tumbling down.
The Mercury received an impassioned press release from lauded chef Naomi Pomeroy of Beast today detailing a recent trip to the Farmers Market and some terrible news she received there about Bittersweet farms:
I was talking with Jenifer, the farm manager, and realized I had not seen the friendly smiling face of farmer Bill in a few weeks. When I asked her about it, tears welled up- and she let me know that he had passed away recently. She also told me that Bill had been hospitalized for a while, and during that time, quickly racked up over a million dollars in bills. The collection agency is now saying that they will take the farm as collateral against those bills.
Pomeroy, a strong supporter of eating local, notes that Bittersweet was the 8th farm to be certified organic in the nation. The late farmer Bill Gibson wrote recently of the struggles of small organic farms:
I see the organic movement pass into the large corporate business, my hope that the classic organic farmer of the early year can compete with the new trend. But I will keep on farming because every day I learn something new and share a piece of myself and what I have tried to do with like mined people trying to make this earth a better place to live.
With hopes that Gibson’s memory can live on in Bittersweet’s continued production, Pomeroy is hosting a special six-course dinner at Beast next Tuesday. All proceeds will go to Bittersweet farm in hopes of slowing any further action by the collection agency. The dinner will be six courses for $150 per head including food wine and gratuity, but any additional funds will be accepted.
Reservations are required. Call 841-6968. Menu after the jump.
After sort of doubling in size—they are now officially a power duo with drummer Dana Valatka, compared to their previous incarnation of Luke Wyland and whatever warm body he found on the street—AU is releasing a brand new EP entitled Versions. Set for an October 8th release, the 10" release (suck it, CD fans) will be limited to 500 copies—there will be a digital release as well—and feature reworked/reinterpreted songs from their previous catalog, plus an epic new song, "Ida Walked Away," as well. Oh, I hope that song is about '90s indie pop band, Ida.
1. Ida Walked Away (unreleased)
2. RR vs., D (from Verbs)
3. Are Animals (from Verbs)
4. All Myself (from Verbs)
5. Death (from AU Au)
6. Boute [digital only] (from AU Au)
AU - "Ida Walked Away"
End Hits: Looks like someone got into the Goldschläger again.
Yesterday I mentioned KPOJ host Carl Wolfson cutting me off on his morning show. Today I got an email from Carl, which seemed like kind of an apology, I guess...
Thanks for the pub, even though it was negative. (I left a blog entry under CW).
I don't know if you listen to our full three hours each weekday, but we pride ourselves on being interesting, entertaining and relevant. Christine, Paul and I put in countless hours to cover so many issues. And we do it (99% of the time) respectfully. KPOJ has no budget for publicity.
The only thing I hate about your blog is that it gives the impression that I am not interested in education, which is one of my passions. I know drama (i.e. hang-ups) usually gets all the play. But below is something you might report, too.
Talk to you next week!
Attached to Wolfson's email was the following picture:
I still forgive you for cutting me off, Wolfson! Even if you're not really sorry.
And I still forgive Sam Adams.
Well, now it's official—after being rumored for a while, it looks like Alien will, in fact, be getting a prequel, and yes, said prequel will be helmed by the director of the original Alien, Ridley Scott.
As much as I love the first two Alien films—and goddamn, I love them a lot—Alien 3, Alien vs. Predator, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, and the soul-scarring last 20 minutes or so of Alien Resurrection all did a pretty thorough job of killing my desire to see another Alien movie. (But maybe they haven't totally murdered it: I'm really digging what I've read so far of the Aliens comic book miniseries that John Arcudi, Zach Howard, and Mark Irwin are currently doing, and it's definitely good news that Scott is on board.) Anyway, details about the prequel, scant as they are, are at Variety. Via io9.
ALSO RELATED TO ALIENS, BOTH IN A GENERAL SENSE AND ALSO DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE FILM ALIENS: Granted, this news is a few days old, but I want to make sure people know about it: If you weren't one of the people who got to see the Avatar footage that Aliens (and Terminator, and The Abyss, and Titanic, and etc.) director James Cameron showed off last week at Comic-Con International, never fear. Twentieth Century Fox is renting out a ton of theaters across the country on August 21st to show off the first trailer for, and some footage from, Cameron's upcoming live-action/CG/3D sci-fi epic. Admission will be free.
As one of those who was at Comic-Con and did get to see that Avatar footage, trust me when I say you'll definitely want to check this shit out—and you'll want to do so in a movie theater, on as big of a screen as possible, and in 3D. Maybe I'm a bit too optimistic about how big of a deal I think Avatar could be—I'm not convinced it's going to be the next Star Wars or anything, but then, I wouldn't bet against that happening, either—but regardless, I think Avatar might be the sort of film that not only demands to be seen in 3D on a huge screen, but also the sort of film that could change peoples' way of thinking about how they watch film. If the entirety of Avatar is as impressive, weird, and game-changing as the 30 minutes shown at Comic-Con, this film could be exactly the thing that's needed to convince people that watching movies on an iPod or a computer screen... well, doesn't really count.
Or, you know, it could be a colossal failure and the world's most expensive pet project. A chunk of the hyperbolic press release about Fox's grandiosely titled "Avatar Day" is after the jump.
Plazm recently announced that the January shirt in their Plazm Thread T-Shirt of the Month Club will be designed by MAD magazine's Al Jaffee, creator of "Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions" and the magazine's famous Fold-In covers. I'm going to wait and see what the design looks like before dropping $99 on a 6-month, 6-shirt subscription, but... neat.
Share your sad, jubilant, or emotionally neutral response within the holy sanctuary of… QUESTIONLAND! (Just follow the sound of church bells.)
Does your darling little girl like to roller skate? Naturally.
Does she like to twirl and spin so her ruffled, pink dress shows off those cute little Mary Jane flats? Then she can suck it. It’s time to toughen up.
The Rose City Rollers are coming for your daughters. The Rose Buds, Portland’s Junior Roller Derby league, are holding tryouts from 2:00-3:30 pm on August 9, preceded by a tryout clinic from 2:00-3:00 pm on August 2 to teach girls 12-17 the skills they need for tryouts. Give your little girl the opportunity to be super cool and super hardcore.
Because it's still the morning, and this is still the news:
THE AWL ON PORTLAND!!! Oh Jesus. It's part of a serial novel:
Portland was, if possible, even better than all those stories from the Times about how everyone rides their bikes and hangs out at bookstores and listens to The Shins. It was a paradise where food carts served waffle sandwiches, guys with Crass tattoos made their own yogurt, and no one ever asked what you did for a living.
“Do you think I could be a stripper? I mean, I would be a subversive one because I would only dance to, like, Belle and Sebastian and Bikini Kill and I would probably try to organize a union.” Nicole stopped the waitress and asked for agave for her yerba mate. “And then I could write about it, like Diablo Cody or that Miranda July story that was in the New Yorker.”
“Why does everything have to be so virtuous in Portland?” Nicole held her whisk aloft. “Someone was guilt tripping me at New Seasons the other day for forgetting to bring my own Sigg bottle. Can’t I just drink my liter of Fiji water in peace?”
MC HAMMER'S COUSIN IN ALLEGED TWITTER RAPE!!! Yes, this is a real story.
MEL GIBSON "ATTACKED" SOMEONE... This is hardly news these days.
BEER SUMMIT!!! I am so in love with this photograph it hurts:
BITCH SLAP 'EM!!! Larry Flint's advice to the President on how to deal with Republicans.
I SAID, BITCH SLAP 'EM!!! 58 percent of Republicans doubt the President is an American.
HERO IS...OH SHIT...CHILD RAPIST!!! OOPS... New York Times eulogizes about a man living under a bridge, neglects to mention unfortunate fellow's past.
JOE DIMAGGIO, FULL FRONTAL!!! You know what I said about the "beer summit" earlier? I actually meant I am so in love with THIS photograph, it hurts. Click for the soapy life size version. Also, perhaps, an erection!
JUDE LAW'S KID!!! LOVE CHILD!!! LOVE CHILD!!! Why couldn't God give us all wombs?
PELOSI: HEALTH INSURERS ARE "IMMORAL VILLAINS..." Didn't call any cops "stupid," though.
CHICK FLICK OF THE DECADE!!! Even I want to see this stupid movie.
JESSICA SIMPSON WEIGHT LOSS FRAUD!!! Oh no she dih-unt.
At the 12 second mark you will recoil in horror. At the 54 second mark, your sperm will dry up, or your ovaries will fall out of your vagina. At 1:47, your brain will follow your ovaries, and dash out into the middle of traffic in a panic. And at 2:39, all life on earth as we know it comes to a screeching halt. It was nice knowing you.
Unlike the world of music, there really isn't much "cred" to the idea of "indie cred" in gaming.
Natalie Portman will never tell Zach Braff that everyday shooter will change his life, Dan Paladin will never date Zooey Deschanel, and even at his downtrodden scruffiest, Bill Murray will never do anything accompanied by tunes from Audiosurf. It just doesn't happen.
What indie — does anyone use the word's literal meaning anymore? — games do have though, is the freedom to take totally insane ideas, unhindered by bean-obsessed counters at major gaming firms, and create something wholly distinct. Most times the result is something the developer's parents might pin to their fridge in an effort to bolster their dumb kid's waning self-confidence, but once in a while something really awesome crawls out of the mass of tangled 1s and 0s.
Like Fat Princess.
Cue vaguely useful text synopsis: Take the whimsical aesthetic from Castle Crashers, add the class-based gameplay of Team Fortress 2, replace that game's flags with easily abducted bulimic royalty, lift the historically inaccurate medieval setting from Gauntlet, dip it in blood, and make the whole thing playable by up to 32 people online. That's Fat Princess.
My "it's like this, but also like this" text blurb can't really do the game justice, and even that video does little to instill a firm sense of why FP is so phenomenal, so I urge you to find some way to play this thing. Steal blood if you have to. People have tons of that stuff just lying around.
If you do play FP and it doesn't get you hot, feel free to ignore anything else I may ever type (as you, no doubt, step on the necks of newborn puppies and swipe the welfare checks of double-amputees).
No matter what you’ve thought of my endeavor this month, or the posts connected with said endeavor, I ask that you consider this one plea: Please, stop drinking lousy beer.
This month I entered the jungle of craft beer and I drank deeply from those amber streams. I drank in the quiet of my living room listening to hum of the box fan. I drank with friends late into the night. I drank in ugly motel rooms, handsome pubs, and with throngs at the Oregon Brewers Festival. And I have been changed. I hate to say it, but I have.
Get a load of the nerd! Okay, I agree this is moderately—MODERATELY—cool… but c'mon. He either needs to find a girlfriend, or raise some money on the internet to buy one.
I’d like to thank all of the taco truck workers of Portland for toiling through this week’s heatwave. You kept the downtown denizens fed with carnitas and asada. You kept the outskirts of the city supplied with perfect pollo.
I know, because I stood outside some of those trucks as the sun beat down, listening to the grill sizzle. It was bad enough for me, but I can’t imagine what it must have been like for you, working over the grill, making tacos for some eager white guy who can barely pronounce his order.
You need to know that those tacos were appreciated; that I relished every morsel. I hope the rest of Portland follows my lead and throws a little extra in your tip jar.
I'd also like to extend the sentiment to all food-cart workers in Portland. Thank you all. You rock.
The Salt Lake Tribune obtained this video of Mormon security guards—four of 'em—confronting, pulling apart, roughing up, and handcuffing the gay couple who shared a kiss on a plaza—a formerly public plaza—in front of the main Mormon temple in downtown Salt Lake:
Salt Lake City Prosecutor Sim Gill said Wednesday he will not prosecute a gay couple cited for trespassing after they shared a kiss on the plaza. "The two individuals believed—albeit mistakenly—that they had the right to be there," Gill said. "Fairness requires that either that property be not open to the public or you condition that [openness] in a way that the person who comes on understands that it is private property."
A nationwide kiss-in protest is being planned for August 15. Kiss-Ins have been announced in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Iowa City, Little Rock, Salt Lake—and according to the group's Facebook page, Portland.
While preparing for an interview with Jamie S. Rich and Joelle Jones, co-creators of the just-released graphic novel You Have Killed Me, I ran across some of Joelle's sketches for Dark Horse's upcoming Dr. Horrible one-shot:
The comic, drawn by Joelle and written by Zack Whedon, is scheduled for release in November. More sketches here.
Tonight at the (air conditioned) Mississippi Studios, it's live storytelling event True Stories, with Chelsea Cain, Courtenay Hameister, Scott Poole, Stacy Bolt, and special guest Greg Robillard (author of Captain Freedom: A Superhero's Quest for Truth, Justice, and the Celebrity He So Richly Deserves). Sitting perfectly still in an air-conditioned room listening to other people make conversation... sounds good to me, especially when you throw in musical guests Chris Robley and Thao Nguyen. That's tonight at 8, $15.
Since our esteemed film editor Erik Henriksen is at Comic Con signing copies of his erotic She-Hulk fan fiction, I feel as if it is my duty to post these two excellent new trailers that have popped up on the internet today.
Up first, the Wes Anderson’s stop-motion flick, Fantastic Mr. Fox, which looks like a kiddie version of Bottle Rocket as written by Roald Dahl. I know this will come as a shock to you, but Bill Murray is part of the voice cast.
- - -
Next up, the head-pounding trailer for A Serious Man, the new Coen Brothers' film starring no one you have heard of, and a bunch of rabbis. Sounds like my kind of film. Of course, I won't be screening any of these films since Erik keeps all the good ones to himself. But I do have a guest spot for Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom if anyone wants to join me.
Update, 3:26pm: Download a .mov file of the exchange here.
Wolfson disagrees with the tenor of my column, which is that I've forgiven Sam Adams, and feel a lot better for it. I didn't realize I was going to touch such a raw nerve, and Wolfson—a progressive talk show host—sounded pretty angry. I said that's okay, but that I wasn't angry any more, and tried to move us on to talk about Adams' new initiative attempting to improve the high school dropout rate in Portland. Wolfson didn't want to do that, though. "I'm sure that's great for those students," he said. But...but...
Apparently Wolfson apologized on the air for hanging up on me, afterward. But all I heard was the sound of my cellphone cutting off as I was trying to talk about Senator Avel Gordly's support of the recall. The whole controversy re-makes my point: Let's stop focusing on the arguments around Sam Adams, which seem so divisive, and let's move forward to work on some of the very real problems being faced by Portland.
To do that, we have to take responsibility for our anger, we have to own it, and we have to forgive.
I'm looking forward to next week's show, 8am Thursday as usual, 620 AM.
I know, I know, it's still freakin' hot out. But that's just nature's way of making you a sweaty, angry dancing machine. So don't forget about the soultastic dance night and contest, Soul Clap & Dance Off, at Rotture tonight. NYC's Jonathan Toubin and our own DJ Beyonda will be making the soul records (and your heat-addled head) spin. Since Rotture is not exactly known for being lousy with air-conditioned comfort, I can pretty much guarantee that every dancer's going to lose seven pounds of water weight—combine that with $100 for the grand prize in the dance contest and you've got the makings of a perfect dehydrated Thursday night.
Remember Jill and Kevin, who planned and executed the most awesome wedding entrance ever? Well, their marriage apparently didn't work out so good. But look, guys! Their divorce proceedings entrance is even BETTER! (Can't wait until their funerals!)
Dude! People are totally over there slagging your favorite pizza joint! (Actually, they aren't yet—but they surely will.) Are you gonna take that? Head over to QUESTIONLAND… like… pronto!
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